Mumford & Sons has had the same four-member lineup since the group formed in 2007. That changes today, though, as Winston Marshall has announced that he has left the band. This comes after Marshall found himself in hot water earlier this year, when he showed support for Unmasked, a book from controversial right-wing journalist Andy Ngo. After the backlash, Marshall took a leave of absence from the group, but now he has decided to leave for good.
He made the announcement in a Medium post today. In the post, he begins be reminiscing about his time in the band and summarizing the Ngo situation. As he put it, “I failed to foresee that my commenting on a book critical of the Far-Left could be interpreted as approval of the equally abhorrent Far-Right.” He later continued, “The truth is that reporting on extremism at the great risk of endangering oneself is unquestionably brave. I also feel that my previous apology in a small way participates in the lie that such extremism does not exist, or worse, is a force for good.”
He then concluded the post by summarizing his reasons for leaving Mumford & Sons:
“For me to speak about what I’ve learnt to be such a controversial issue will inevitably bring my bandmates more trouble. My love, loyalty and accountability to them cannot permit that. I could remain and continue to self-censor but it will erode my sense of integrity. Gnaw my conscience. I’ve already felt that beginning.
The only way forward for me is to leave the band. I hope in distancing myself from them I am able to speak my mind without them suffering the consequences. I leave with love in my heart and I wish those three boys nothing but the best. I have no doubt that their stars will shine long into the future. I will continue my work with Hong Kong Link Up and I look forward to new creative projects as well as speaking and writing on a variety of issues, challenging as they may be.”
The band offered a reaction to the news on social media, sharing an old photo of the group and writing, “We wish you all the best for the future, Win, and we love you man. M, B & T.”
Read Marshall’s full post here.